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March 12, 2014

Anti-Israel Conference Broadcast Live On CSPAN Features Anti-Semitism

An event held last Friday at the National Press Club and broadcast live on C-SPAN 3 focusing on the U.S.-Israel relationship featured a number of virulently anti-Israel speakers who made conspiratorial claims about Zionism, the influence of the “Israel Lobby” and much more.jeff-blankfort-summit-dc-cspan

The event, dubbed as a National Summit to “Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship,’” was sponsored by anti-Israel groups If Americans Knew, the Council for the National Interest (CNI), the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) as well as the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Sessions at the summit included, “How does the Israel lobby influence Congress?” and “Does Israel and its lobby exercise too much influence on U.S. decisions to wage war in the Middle East?” Subtopics for those sessions included, “In the Israel lobby’s cross-hairs,” and “Are threats to Israel’s security inflated to justify occupation and U.S. support?”

While almost all of the speakers called on the U.S. to end its aid to Israel, the following is a sampling of some of the most inflammatory statements.

  • Paul Findley, a former U.S. Representative from Illinois and a founder of CNI, said: “The influence of Israel, as of today, is so great on Capitol Hill that they [Representatives] see dangers of not surviving the next election if they challenge what Israel is doing.”
  • Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Representative from Georgia, who spoke via Webcast, told the audience that “the pro-Israel lobby usually has a whole lot of money and those of us who act of conscious generally don’t…they [the pro-Israel lobby] can buy and intimidate people.”
  • Philip Giraldi, Executive Director of CNI, talked about an Israeli conspiracy surrounding the 9/11 attacks.  “The existence of a large scale Israeli spying effort at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported incorporating Israeli companies…Five Israelis from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the Twin Towers going down.”
  • Jeffrey Blankfort, a radio host based in San Francisco, referred to Washington, D.C. as “Israeli-occupied territory” and spoke of “AIPAC’s occupation of Congress.” He also alleged that “PNAC [Project for New American Century] initiated and made up of predominantly Jewish neocons began promoting regime change in Iraq.”
  • Grant F. Smith, the Director of IRmep, said that there has been Israeli espionage in the U.S. since the 1940s. “My conclusion,” he said, “is there is no U.S. law that if it stands in the way of Israel…that cannot be thwarted [by Israel].”
  • Allan C. Brownfeld, a nationally syndicated columnist, said: “What has happened to American Judaism has completely corrupted its religious nature. What we are witnessing today – synagogues flying Israeli flags, programs urging American Jews to emigrate to Israel ‘their real homeland,’ – is a form of idolatry making the sovereign state of Israel the object of worship rather than God.” He added, “It is also my view that Zionism is a subversive enterprise.”
national-press-club-summit-logo

Summit logo

During a Q&A sessions at the summit, one of the audience members stated that the “Holocaust narrative is still the third rail” and that teaching it in schools is “a violation of constitutional rights. It’s a state enforcement of a religious dogma.”

Jeffrey Blankfort responded to that comment by stating that, “When it comes to the Holocaust, there’s no range of opinions. You teach a certain line; you do not teach about the Zionist-Nazi collaboration…”

Justin Raimondo, the editorial director of Antiwar.com, interjected and asked Blankfort, “What range of opinions could you possibly have about the Holocaust?!” Philip Weiss, a co-founder of the anti-Israel Mondoweiss blog, also responded to Blankfort’s comments and called them “repulsive” but added that, “the West incurred a debt towards the Jews from the Holocaust and the Palestinians paid for that.”

During another Q&A session, an audience member asked, “…why is it such a stretch for us as a body to not publicly say, ‘Israel had a hand in 9/11?’”

Stephen Snagoski, a columnist for the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial Veterans News Now, responded in part: “It seems reasonable that they [Israel] may have known a lot about it and didn’t tell that to people who would act to prevent it in the United States…It looks like all the evidence has disappeared.” Snagoski stated that these alleged developments were reported on, “even Fox,” which he referred to as, “one of ‘their’ channels.”

Several other speakers participated in the Summit, including Stephen Walt, Alison Weir, Raymond McGovern and Paul Pillar.

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June 19, 2013

Anti-Semites And Extremists To Host “Freedompalooza 2013” On July 4th Weekend

White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-government extremists and conspiracy theorists are among speakers scheduled to appear at “Freedompalooza 2013,” organized by Paul Topete, lead singer of the band Pokerface and an anti-Semite and anti-government extremist.   It is the third time Topete has organized such an event in Pennsylvania, but he allegedly has plans to organize future events in other regions of the country.freedom-palooza-2013

Freedompalooza will take place from July 4-6, 2013, in Bucks County in eastern Pennsylvania.  Although a local restaurant is providing the property and selling food at the event, the primary sponsor (and  promoter) of the event is the American Free Press, the anti-Semitic and conspiracy-oriented newspaper published by long-time white supremacist Willis Carto.

Topete has lined up a long list of bands and speakers, many of the latter coming from extremist and fringe movements and causes.  One theme that unites many speakers is virulent anti-Semitism or anti-Israel sentiment.  Two of the more prominent speakers, for example, are former members of Congress:  Cynthia McKinney and James Traficant.  McKinney  is a long-time anti-Israel activist who has supported anti-Semitic groups such as the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party, while Traficant, since his release from prison on federal racketeering and bribery convictions, has joined the American Free Press, in whose pages he has expressed his own anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views.  Another scheduled speaker is Jim Condit, Jr., who several times ran for Congress in Ohio, taking advantage of his candidate status to obtain a platform for expressing his anti-Semitic views in radio advertisements.

Other speakers reportedly scheduled to attend include Merlin Miller, the 2012 presidential candidate of the white supremacist American Freedom Party,  several American Free Press writers, and Cynthia Steele, the wife of white supremacist attorney Edgar Steele (currently serving a 50-year sentence for conspiracy to murder Cynthia, a charge she claims is false).

Freedompalooza will also host a variety of anti-government extremist speakers, including representatives from several militia groups, a representative from the anti-government and conspiratorial Oath Keepers, and the Appleseed Project, a marksmanship program that warns attendees that they may have to (literally) fight the government to maintain their liberty.

Also present will be Larry Pratt, head of the Gun Owners of America, a radical gun rights group, and Jeff Christopher, a sheriff from Delaware with ties to Michael Peroutka, former presidential candidate of the right-wing extremist Constitution Party.  Christopher’s battle with the state of Delaware over that state’s decision to eliminate the arrest powers of its three county sheriffs has been much promoted by the American Free Press and other right-wing sources.

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October 5, 2012

Anti-Israel “Tribunal on Palestine” to Take Place at Cooper Union this Weekend

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTOP), which aims to bring the issue of Palestinian rights to “a court of the people,” will hold its fourth and final session this weekend at Cooper Union in Manhattan. Three previous RTOP sessions that have taken place in Barcelona, London and Cape Town since 2009 produced concluding documents calling Israel an apartheid state, describing the Gaza blockade as “slow motion genocide” and denouncing alleged “corporate complicity” in the Israeli occupation.

The tribunal’s “jury” and “witnesses” are comprised of anti-Israel activists and analysts like Cynthia McKinney; Mairead Maguire, a participant in the May 2010 flotilla; and John Dugard, a South African attorney and former Special Rapporteur on human rights for the U.N. who authored a report comparing Israeli policies to apartheid, as well as Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Alice Walker, the author of The Color Purple. In light of this extremely biased composition, it is obvious what the final “verdict,” which will be announced at a press conference on Monday, October 8, will look like.

A number of prominent anti-Israel activists are also scheduled to speak at specific sessions, including Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement; Phyllis Bennis, a co-founder of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; and Diana Buttu, who recently appeared at a “one-state solution” conference at Harvard University.

In fact, the tribunal’s website makes it clear that it will not be an objective inquiry: “The Tribunal aims to bring attention to the complicity and responsibility of various national, international and corporate actors in the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the perpetuation of Israel’s impunity under international law.”

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